NFL Divisional Round Winners.

Sara Jean Underdogs.

Your everyday mullet, your average punter usually likes his favorites.  I’m not sure why this is exactly, because your average sports fan that keeps his money safely in his wallet is usually a sucker for the underdog.  I guess with nothing on the line, it’s easier to root for a good story.  When you are putting up your hard-earned finskys, though, it’s easier to trust the team that is better on paper.  I should probably go back and look at my picks this year and examine my favorite/dog ratio.  I think when I took a dog it was usually under, “Who is (fill in awful team) to be giving points to anyone…”  That doesn’t really happen in the playoffs and on cue, I took 3 favorites last week.  As it turned out, three favorites covered–just not my three.  For the 2nd round the lines have gotten prohibitive in some cases and the favorites aren’t as easy to trust.  Is it time to see if the proverbial dogs will hunt?

***

Big Dub: Last Week, 3-1.  

San Francisco (+4) over New Orleans.  Drew Brees lit up the Lions, but also should have had three picks.  Never take a dome team outdoors.  Exhibit “A” was the Falcons.

Baltimore (-7.5) over Houston.  I wish I could bet the Ravens -17 for plus money.

New York Giants (+9) over Green Bay.  The Giants might hang around and win this damn thing.

New England (-13.5) over Denver.  Didn’t the Pats roll Timmy Tebow a couple of weeks back in Denver?  I hate people who think the Patriots blow out Denver because Belichick and Brady won’t let anything else happen.  Did they let Eli ruin their perfect season?  Did they let Flacco beat them?  Did they let Sanchez beat them?  The logic is simple:  The Pats are at least 14 points better than the Broncos.

***

Grossy: Last Week, 2-2.  

Baltimore (-7.5) over Houston.  This might be the only game I really feel comfortable picking.  Take that however you’d like.  If you want to go drop an avalanche of cash on the Texans money line,  I wouldn’t blame you.  I’m not going to compare Houston to the Seahawks last year, because that is a little insulting, but the point is, every team eventually reaches its limit.  This is Houston’s.  They are a fluke play and momentum shift away from being home right now.  When betting the Ravens you say, Does Flacco have to be good to cover this number?  No.  Take the Ravens.  Baltimore is good at home, they’re rested, and for Houston it’s time for Matt Leinart’s favorite part of the year–the off-season.

New York Giants (+9) over Green Bay.  Come feed at the teet of that jinx, Giants fans.  But, as fun as it is to play with the fragile emotions of Giants fans…  “We’re not going to win, we stink.  I don’t know why everyone thinks we have a shot.  The Packers?  We’re getting blown out. (secretly expecting a win/already planning trash talk)”…I don’t think the Packers cover here because there won’t be any real need for them to do so.  I like Green Bay to win, but I don’t think their defense is good enough to blow New York out, and I could see this game going on the see-saw that Det/NO was on last week with the opposite result.  Down 10 or 13 Eli punches one in with 83 seconds left, failed onside kick and….scene.

New Orleans (-4) over San Francisco.  I’m weighing two great forces here.  On one side we’ve got the Niners who I want to lose and have been expecting to lose this game for months.  Add that to the Saints obscene hot-streak.  They’re scoring points in quantities the 49ers could only dream of.  On the other side you have New Orleans’ abysmal track record on the road.  You have the quirks and oddities of Candlestick Park and San Fran’s ferocious defense.  I feel like San Francisco is the trendy play here, and when the Saints start piling up points everyone is going to say, “Gosh, I’m powerful dumb.”  I’m not going to bet against Breesus right now until I get proven wrong.  Charles Haley and his 3rd leg aren’t walking through that door.  Saints in a laugher.

Denver (+13.5) over New England.  To get the specifics out of the way, I don’t think Denver can win this game.  But, there’s been a lot of nervous time in New England lately.  Bad starts to be exact, and for some reason I think the Pats might scuffle out of the gate one more time.  They’ll recover, but I’m not sure they’re going to have time to beat the Broncos by 2 touchdowns.  Plus, Denver is looking more confident in the passing game.  It’s hard to believe, but it’s true.  As we saw last week all it takes is a couple fortuitous Tebow punts and a double-digit spread becomes almost insurmountable.  Tebowmania ends, but not before he gives everyone reason to be plenty bullish on 2012.

***

Kraft:

  1. San Francisco (+4) over New Orleans
  2. New England (-13.5) over “4th and God”
  3. Baltimore (-7.5) over Houston.  If Flacco doesn’t win this home playoff game against a 3rd-stringer, folks in the Inner Harbor are going to be calling for the Ravens to overpay Matt Flynn.
  4. Green Bay (-9) over New York Giants.  I think people forget that Green Bay was 15-1.  Aaron Rodgers re-wrote the way to play QB.  Yes, they beat NY by 3 in NJ, and the Giants are playing well, but the Giants are inconsistent.  Vegas making this 9 points has to mean something.

***

I’m not sure what the most exciting part of Fridays is anymore.  Is it picking games, or ticking off another week in the countdown to pitchers and catchers?  We’re only 5 weeks out now.  That’ll happen in a blink.  Time flies, and another week zips by here.  Good job everyone.  Enjoy the football and bundle up, looks like winter has finally arrived.  See everyone Monday unless the Phillies sign Prince Fielder.

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21 thoughts on “NFL Divisional Round Winners.

  1. Prince Fielder? For real? Do we want that ish?

    i think you put that in here to see who read to the end.
    well, i read the end?

    there you have it.

    and do we call her eyes hazel, hazel?

    brown eyed Q

  2. yeah, I think hazel.

    Not for real on Fielder.

    by the way, if anyone has the raw courage to read Reilly’s Tebow column, please let me know what paragraph you made it to before you actively started vomiting. I don’t have the stones to click on the link.

  3. huh, he was bashing on him in august? what’s the link…i fear little, except suspence or suspense, violence, bigotry and some small rodents, dogs, cats and children.

    most everything else makes me laugh…please put the link here? or did i miss it?

    Q

  4. I accepted the Tebow article challenge- I made it through to the end despite my distaste for Rick Reilly. The coverage is annoying to me, but I’m not that turned off to Tebow. I think it’s partly because what you read about is truly who he is, it’s not contrived to become a lebron ‘esque’ global icon. ESPN had a great mini documentary leading up to the draft, and to see all if the mcshay/kiper types continually put him down, yet he hasn’t had a Ryan leaf type implosion or really hasn’t lashed out I think makes it easy to root for him. I have developed a great respect for how he continues to move forward despite bad games or constant criticism, and it seems like guys want to play hard for him- that has to count for something?
    I get the hatred for the ‘goody goody’ behavior and the religious aspect, i hate that stuff as much as anyone, but for some reason for me, I think the other qualities outweigh those at the end of the day. He’s definitely earned my respect. And why can’t he develop as a QB? Someone who works that hard? It’s not like Denver has Jamarcus Russell or Sam Bradford type $$$ invested in him…

    • Well said. My avoidance of the article is more related to Reilly. He can’t seem to handle anything these days without overwhelming schmaltz, and imagining that combined with Tebow was just too much.

      I agree with much of what you say, there’s not any reason to dislike him, but that’s where the media comes in.

      I think they are actually doing him a disservice with all this attention and the way they cover him. People are either selling him short on his skills or going completely over the top with the “bigger than football” stuff. There seems to be very few honest assessments of his skills.

      He’s the only QB I’ve ever seen who was drafted in the 1st round and people assumed he couldn’t play. It’s an incredibly odd scenario, because you have to balance the treatment of his as an underdog, or as an :”all he does is win” guy vs. what you saw of him in college–which was him physically dominating teams and games.

      I’d say my stance on him has softened a bit. I’ve gone from thinking he can’t play to thinking that he could be a good fit on a really good team. He can certainly run the ball, but we’re talking 46.5% completions this year. That’s a long way to go as a thrower. But, if you had a nice running game, guys to throw to and a defense, he’d be near the top of my list probably because there are only 6-8 real stud guys out there at any given time. It’s very difficult to land one of them. I’d definitely take him over your run of the mill slop just because of his leadership, etc.

      I’m just not aware of a guy who ever came into the league with this poor of a record throwing the ball and really turned it around.

  5. So I’m guessing the NFL has let both coaches know that NE is to go into halftime up 42-7, so then Tebow can then lead the greatest playoff comeback in history?
    It’s going to be tough though to come back running the option with McGhee down 35

  6. AK – That game nearly rivaled our venture into the frozen tundra in the Pats v Titans in 2003. It was offing freezing out there last night – thank god it was a blow out because we pulled the shoot at halftime and walked over to Davios!

  7. Did you rock ski goggles?
    I don’t think I can endure another Giants super bowl run. For some reason no one talked about the complete atrocity that was GB’s defense this year…I’m guessing no more ‘discount double check’

    • I think Eli is the new TT (how else do you explain the monumental implosion of the Packers), so, hmm, better watch out for the agnostics in New England. Q

  8. Sometimes you go into Lambeau and put up 37 against the defending SB champs. The bitter, bitter voice of this blog. When will we hear praise for Eli? Is that a “never”? not even begrudgingly?

    On a serious note, how horrific was that officiating? The fumble/no fumble for Driver? Seemed pretty conclusive to me. Sure appeared to be a lot of home cooking going on.

  9. we’re just not on the same page with this argument. you’re way off in what I think of Eli. If you look back at what I’ve said about him this year you’d find that I’ve given him plenty of praise. I think I had him ranked as the 6th best Qb. I mean you want to quibble over a spot or two? I’ll fight you on it, but I don’t think it’s worth it. You act like I say he’s terrible and can’t play and that’s not what I say at all. In fact, given your proclivity for taking him in D.A. I’d say I was more generous to him this year than you were.

    Am I going to bow down and crown him the greatest because he won yesterday? Absolutely not. He won another game. He played well again. But, it doesn’t change the big picture point in my mind yet. Just like Donovan McNabb wasn’t off the hook when he had a couple of good games in the 2008 playoffs. He ended up losing and his rep as a loser stuck.

    Eli and the Giants are making this now 2nd playoff run based largely on defense and team play. Eli is doing a very nice job, better than 2007, but look at the game yesterday…

    another slant to Nicks for 70 yards after catch, a hail mary, a 4yd TD drive that the defense set up, the last TD drive was total garbage time…that’s 28 of their points.

    And, obviously, Eli had a big hand in that, but it was just another solid performance against one of the worst defenses in the league in my opinion.

    Again, we’re talking about raising him into the category with the big-3 or 4 at this point and no, I’m still not doing it.

  10. I think I’m more putting it out there to the at large crew than you specifically, you’re just who i address b/c your name is on the door (figuratively speaking). Is he Brady/Brees/Peyton? Probably not. But if Eli gets killed for previous gmen let downs, doesn’t beating Rodgers head to head and outperforming him at least put him past that guy? Running game yesterday wasn’t as important as the passing game, but all of it has to work to win anyway at this point in the season.

    In the end, there was a comment that Eli wouldn’t win a playoff game over the next 3 years. He has eclipsed that, he’s led his team to the playoffs 2x, won the NFC East and finds himself in the NFC championship. I think that debate is settled, and he’s proven himself an elite quarterback. All of that despite an OC that is atrocious.

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